It’s been pretty hard to make IFR flights in the last few weeks; the weather in the Northwest this time of year is almost always overcast with rain, and the freezing level has been too low to permit safe flight into instrument conditions. Tyler and I did IFR Lesson #9 in the Frasca Simulator over a month ago, and it’s been a month and a half since the last IFR lesson in the air! Tonight the freezing level was adequately high, and we were able to fly at last. There was rain and an 800 foot ceiling, so I got a lot of actual instrument flying time in tonight.

We took it pretty easy. We departed via the Farmington Four departure from Hillsboro, then ATC gave us vectors to the Localizer Runway 17 Approach at Aurora. After intercepting the localizer I changed to the CTAF frequency, made my position reports, descended and leveled off at the step down fixes, and maintained the localizer centerline–everything went very smooth. We broke out of the clouds before reaching the final approach fix, so Tyler had me put the hood on for the rest of it. At our Minimum Decision Altitude (MDA) of 580 feet MSL I pulled off the hood and the runway was right in front of us, although at the missed approach point (MAP) we seemed very high to make a normal descent to landing. I executed the missed approach procedure, informed Portland Approach, and they vectored us to the final approach course for the ILS Runway 12 at Hillsboro. I started my turn to intercept the localizer a little late and blew past the final approach course, but we never reached a full-scale needle deflection so we didn’t have to go missed. The Approach Lighting System (ALS) became visible at about 1200 feet, and with 10 degrees of laps I landed a little flat but very gently on Runway 12.

It was great to finally get back into the air with my instructor. I’ve got a lot of lessons scheduled so hopefully I can make some significant progress in the next few days. Tonight I completed lesson 16 in the Cessna Pilot Center curriculum out of a total of 24 lessons. I also need to start hitting the books a little harder in preparation for the knowledge test.

One Response to “IFR Lesson #10: Localizer & ILS Approaches”

  1. David

    Cool! Glad you were able to go up.

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